Jennie Stenerhag

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Clarens MTN Marathon series race


Craig took me to the airport on Friday morning, I met Diana there and we travelled together to Johannesburg and Lanseria airport. When we got there we had a message from our lift, Dave, he was a bit late. When he eventually came to the airport and texted ”here” and we could not see him we realised he was at Tambo, the other airport… After a 4,5h wait at Lanseria we drove the 3,5h to Clarens and got there after dark, so no time for a spin, might not have been the best of preparation…. To top it all up it was cold in the B-hive that I slept in (see picture below) and there was a party at the backpackers that we stayed at, so only got 2h of sleep that night.


Clarens is at 1880 meters above sea level and during the race we went up to 2100m! I always struggle with altitude and nothing was different today… It was freezing cold at the start but it warmed up quickly when we got going and came out in the sun. I felt good from the beginning and we were a group of 4 that got away, it was me, Robyn, Theresa and Candice. I struggled a bit on the hill to the Queen of the mountain, it was one of those days when you fight for everything, I dropped back a bit but came back on a downhill, but on the next hill after 27km I lost them and never got back, it was as if I just could not breath in the thin air.  We came to a long stretch of open roads and I could see them for another 20km but it was impossible to catch up on my own. The last 20km was really hard with lots of climbing and single tracks, it had been lots of fun if I was not so tired!


With 7km to go I come around a bend and I see a photografer, I look at him and then down only to see a narrow bridge, it can not have been much wider then 0,5m! I come in a funny angle and hesitate to go over, I click out and put my foot down, the only thing is that there is nothing to put the foot on, I fall down and in the fall I realise how high it is, the bridge is over a 2 meter deep ditch! I land on my face and hear that aweful sound when bone touches the ground hard, I am sure that my nose is broken! I get up and see how the blood is pouring down. The photographer comes to help me and the bike climb up again and I am determind to carry on! As i keep riding I am checking so that I have all teeth left and I am spitting blood. My bike, me, shoes, everything is stained! When I got on the bike again I saw Yolandi Du Toit coming, so I raced hard at the end to keep her behind and I managed to keep the 4th spot.


When I crossed the finish line the medics came running, it must have looked really bad! I got cleaned up and checked and as far as they could see, nothing was broken. I was really lucky, it could have been a lot worse! Oh, and by the way, the bike is all fine!




Straight after finish and gotten cleaned up by the medics...

The morning after...

48hours after the crash...



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